Navigating Digital Nonprofit Marketing, Part 3: On-Page Optimization & Outreach
Part 2 recap:
- Define your goals and objectives
- Track your progress using tools such as Google Analytics, Google Trends, and Google Alerts
- Optimize user experience: attract, educate, and convert your users as fluidly as possible
- Two Golden Rules: Eliminate (web page) distractions, and “Always be testing.”
“I’m beginning to understand the benefits of marketing,” you admit. “But I’m still concerned about our lack of resources and time, which seem to be necessities in effective marketing.”
Marketing with a limited budget is a familiar story for most nonprofits (at GuideStar, we struggle with our own budget constraints often enough). Time is often also limited, so the question you should be asking is:
How can I convert my limited time into the most money (or into the most positive results)?
It’s not easy, but it is achievable. The following methods are low-cost evergreen strategies that will make remarkable impact if you stay engaged with them. I call them the “Two Os” of digital marketing.
The First O: (SEO) Optimization
Search Engine Optimization has become an increasingly ubiquitous digital marketing strategy designed to make your content appear higher in search engine results. Many organizations, however, neglect on-page optimization. This neglect can impede web traffic growth.
How should you apply on-page optimization?
Jonathan Long, founder of Market Domination Media, created a fantastic SEO guide to help get organizations started. Check out some of his key points to begin your on-page optimization:
- SEO Friendly URL
- URLs should always include the targeted keyword.
Navigating Digital Nonprofit Marketing, Part 1
- Authority Outbound Links
- Linking from your page to relevant high-authority websites can help your content rank higher in search engine results.
- Page Title
- Include your targeted keyword in the title of the page
- H1 & H2 Tags
- Include the target keyword in both H1 and H2 tags on the page. (The H1 tag is usually your headline. An H2 tag usually designates the next-largest subheading.)
- Website Speed
- Make sure that your site loads quickly. You can check your site’s speed at Google Speed Test.
- Social Media Sharing
- Acquire natural links back to your site by providing social sharing buttons on every piece of content you produce.
- Keyword at Beginning of Page Content
- Use your target keyword in the content at the beginning of the page.
- Image Alt Attribution
- Provide an alt tag for all images on your site. Make sure the alt tag includes your keyword.
- On-Page Grader
- Get a good idea of how your on-page optimization stacks up by checking out online resources such as Moz’s on-page grader.
Check out Jonathan Long’s On-Page Optimization Guide for a deeper dive on how to increase your organic traffic (traffic the comes to you site through online search engines).
The Second O: Outreach
Creating a blog will help you share your organization’s story, but a good blog has so many more benefits.
- A blog helps drive traffic to your website
Writing a blog post creates one more opportunity for your organization to drive traffic to your website organically. Each post is one more page that online search engines index. Every blog post also lets Google and other search engines know that your website is updating continuously, which should lead their robots to crawl your site frequently to check out new content.
Blog posts also help strengthen your social media presence. Become a thought leader by sharing your content on different platforms. You’ll be growing your organization’s fan base as well as traffic to your website
- It helps convert traffic into prospects
Creating content to attract visitors, customers, donors, etc. to your site is an example of “inbound marketing.” This strategy is one of the most cost-effective ways there is to convert strangers into prospects. Adding a call-to-action at the bottom of every blog post will help align your offering with your post and allow readers to convert more easily.
- It helps drive long-term results
Writing a blog post may get you 100 views today, 50 views tomorrow, 25 views the next day, and so on. That isn’t all. That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic from that one blog post. So, while it may feel like day one or bust, blogging can continue to bring people to your website long after you published the post.
Most people are familiar with social media nowadays but still aren’t utilizing the potential power of the different platforms. Social media allows you to interact with customers, spread ideas, advertise promotions, and explain how people benefit from being connected to your network.
Communicating through social media is a powerful tool. It makes your donors feel valued and that their opinions are heard, ultimately creating a relationship between them and your organization. You should always strive to initiate and facilitate conversations on such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter. After the conversations, analyze the feedback. Turn it into user-generated content to be shared across all your platforms.
Paid Advertising (Google AdWords/Social Media)
Getting people to visit your website is essential to your organization’s success. Pay Per Clicks, or “PPCs,” are a method of online advertising in which you pay for visitors on a cost-per-click basis.
Facebook and Google currently dominate the paid advertising market, not only in revenue earned but in client conversions as well. Testing a low-cost paid advertising strategy will provide you with a statistically significant sample size, allowing you to gauge easily the effectiveness and ROI (return on investment) of each campaigns.
Google Analytics will help you find the keyword you need to target your most applicable audiences and will help branch you out of your sphere of influence.
In Part 2 of this blog series, I mentioned setting up Google Analytics for your website to get started tracking site visitors, page views, impressions, etc. I also recommended that you sign up for Google Trends, which uses real-time search data to help you gauge consumer search behaviors over time. Google Alerts and/or Social Mention will track when your business is mentioned anywhere online. All of these tools will help you monitor the results of the above-mentioned marketing strategies.
Come back in a few weeks, when we will dive into using website onboarding to educate your new visitors about your value proposition. We’ll also visit a few more outreach strategies and go over how to nurture visitors after they’ve visited your website.